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10 Local non-toy gifts for kids for $25 and less

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I encourage you to buy books from our two local children’s bookstores.
1. If you have no time to go to the Red Balloon in St Paul (but I recommend that you do as it is such a beautiful bookstore with helpful and friendly staff), search for books online. If you click on the advance search it will give the option to choose a price range.
2. If you live closer to Minneapolis, you may want to visit the Wild Rumpus. Again, if you’d rather get the books online, they have very useful tools on their website, like the bestsellers from the previous week. You’ll also find lists of recommendations for each category: baby and toddler, picture books, beginning readers, intermediate and advanced.  Books are accompanied by reviews made by one of their staff. How cool is that?


3. You can offer a kid the joy of seeing a show at the Children’s Theatre for as little as $10 per ticket. Who can beat this? $10 tickets are available online, over the phone, and in person for all regular season productions.  Please note a $2.50 service fee per ticket will be applied to online and phone orders.
See below the name of plays for the 2014 – 2015 season.


4. The Como Zoo Park & Conservatory offers a great variety of classes in 2015. The programs tailored for the 2 year through 5 year olds encourage family learning and foster environmental awareness. Live plant or animal encounter and/or tours will be included during classes. Noisy Zoo, Animal Babies, Animal Tracks, Penguins on Parade! are just a few of the interesting classes. Please find here the entire list. The classes cost $15 per child.
5. TCEE Consulting (Twin Cities Environmental Education Consulting) offers several interesting environmental classes. Lauren Borer, the TCEE owner, can teach your kids about Animal Tracking, Life in a Pond, take them on an Insect Hunt and so much more. She worked at the Minnesota ZOO, Tamarack Nature Center, Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, so she knows A LOT about nature and how to share the passion and love for it. The classes cost between $10 and $15 per student.
6. If your kids have an artistic side, then you may want to offer them an amazing experience at the Kiln Kreations studio. Here they can paint their own ceramics (prices start at $2 !depending on the size of the pieces they choose), work with glass (pricing starts at $18), create a mosaic (pricing starts at $24), paint their own 12″ x 12″ canvas ($25 per person) or make a candle (prices start at $15). So many choices!!


Show me a child who doesn’t love train rides. North Shore Scenic Railroad offers daily train excursions through Duluth and up to the North Shore but they also have a lot of fun and special trips planned for 2015.
7. Princess Tea-Time Express. Experience Princess-Class service on the lovely dining car of the North Shore Scenic Railroad. Dress up and join the five grown-up Princesses and two Prince charmings who will be roaming the train visiting with guests. Enjoy complimentary mini foods, lemonade, or tea at each princess’ table. Then get a free rhinestone ring & wrist corsage. This 90 minute ride is fit for Princesses from all kingdoms! ($25 per person)
8. Ride the Pumpkin Patch Train to a pumpkin patch on the edge of town, de-board and pick your own pumpkin!  On the train enjoy magic, and back at the depot, there will be juggling, coloring, bounce houses, slides, and more! ($17 per person)
Check back their calendar for more updates on other fun rides, like Thomas the Tank Engine or Christmas City Express.


9. Not many amusement parks offer memberships but this one does and at affordable prices. Good Times Park brings the outside park feel inside! This one-of-a-kind (family-owned) entirely indoor playground & family recreational park is a great place for family fun & fitness any time. The spacious, well-equipped play zones are designed specifically for unstructured family play. One month membership of $15 will give your child unlimited access to the park!


10. Ok, you need to know from the start that you’ll be cheating with this gift. It won’t be only for your kid but the entire family! What’s an adventure permit, you ask? It’s a Minnesota State Park Permit! It’s four seasons of outdoor fun! It’s a year-round permit that provides unlimited visits to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full year from the month of purchase! It’s a great gift for only $25 per year! Need I say more?

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